My Favorite Garden Harvest Recipes

Many vegetables are harvested in the summer, and summer is grilling season.  If you are out grilling steak, ribs or other summer favorites, it just makes sense to cook your vegetables on the grill as well. My favorite summer harvest recipes are all quick and simple and if cooked, are usually done on the grill.

  

Grilled Cream Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Grilled Green Beans

Grilled Beans

I often grill a pepper or two to have with dinner.  Another variation is a twist on the frozen pepper poppers.  I make these from fresh ingredients straight from the garden and I don’t have to deal with breading or deep frying.

I start with peppers like Hungarian Wax or similar types. These are not very hot and can use a bit of extra kick.  Split them lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and membranes. If the peppers are curled, cut them to they will lay flat with the inside upwards. Lightly coat the outside of the peppers with olive oil.

The stuffing starts with plain cream cheese.  Figure about a teaspoon to tablespoon per pepper half depending on the size of the peppers to be stuffed.  Chop a bit of onion and garlic for flavor.  Add some chopped Jalapeño or other hot pepper for extra kick.  Chop all the ingredients finely and mix well into the cream cheese.

I don’t have specific quantities for the ingredients. Start with a little extra cream cheese and start adding the ingredients. Sample a bit of the cream cheese mixture until it has the right amount of kick for you.

Stuff the cream cheese mixture into the pepper shells. Don’t put too much or it may bubble over the edges and make a mess of your grill. Sprinkle some fresh chives on top. Place them on the grill. They will be done when the bottom of the peppers start showing some brown grill marks and the cheese melts.  Remove and cool. Be careful, the cheese will be very hot!

These are so good it is a shame to only have them during the summer.  When I have extra peppers, I slice them lengthwise and remove the seeds. Next I put them on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Once they freeze I double bag them and return to the freezer.  Then when I want to make some I pull out a few peppers and place them in the oven skin side up. This helps dry out the moisture and cook the pepper.

While this is going on, make the cheese stuffing. Since I don't have fresh hot peppers I use pickled jalapenos. Once the peppers just start to show some browning, remove them. They will be  hot, so you might want to let them cool for a minute or two. Add the cheese mixture and return to the oven, this time cheese side up until ready. They are not quite as good as fresh on the grill, but they still taste great!

  

Grilled beans are a great addition to almost any summer meal.  Cooking them on the grill is super easy. Just cut off the stems and wash. Give them a light coating of olive oil to prevent burning and grill them with a vegetable grate.  Turn them frequently with a spatula. They are ready when they start showing slight browning but are still crisp.   Sprinkle with pepper and a little salt. My favorites are Italian Romano pole beans, but I also plant some small French bush beans because the pole beans take a bit longer before they are ready to harvest.

Fresh Salsa

In late summer the tomatoes and peppers are producing at their max and the onions and garlic are harvested. It’s time to make salsa!  I like my salsa fresh, uncooked and chunky.  The garden provides the ingredients. First I should say the ingredients list is more of a suggestion than an absolute recipe.  The final result will depend on what is available at the time.

4-5 medium tomatoes chopped into cubes about 1/3” square

2 cloves finely minced garlic

1 large onion roughly chopped (red onion is best but I use what I have)

1 large green pepper cut into 1/3” squares

1-2 jalapeño peppers finely chopped

Mixture of other peppers available

2 tablespoons sugar

For tomatoes I like to include some Roma types because they have less liquid.   The pepper mixture varies by what I have ready to pick. I often put in Hungarian Yellow wax, Serrano, chili peppers or other varieties I am growing at the time. I maybe even put a little Habenero if I want it extra hot.  As a general rule, the hotter the pepper, the finer I chop it. The mixture of pepper types gives the salsa a more complex flavor as well as extra color. Extra heat is not the goal.

Because the recipe varies you probably want to taste it as you make it. It is a tough job, but someone has to do it!  If it is too hot add more tomatoes. If it is not hot enough add more jalapeño.  The ideal mix has a bit of heat that lingers but the sugar adds sweetness that keeps you coming back for more. After you have it just right put in the refrigerator for a couple of hours and its ready to go.

  

Pea Pods

Grilled Zucchini

Grilled squash

Peas are one of the first things planted in the spring, so they one of the spring’s first harvest. I don’t plant shell peas. They take too much room for what you get, not to mention they are a lot of work to shell. Pea pods are great for Chinese stir fry or just sautéed.  I like to add sliced onions and fresh mushrooms.  Leave these out if you wish, pea pods are still delicious by themselves.

If I am grilling I like to do them on the grill but the weather is often not great for that in the spring when the pea pods are available. I sauté them on the stove in a little butter in that case. If I am grilling I coat the peas with a little olive oil first.  For extra flavor add garlic, basil or oregano.

  

Zucchini is a summer vegetable that does not get much respect. It doesn’t have a lot of flavor and produces so much that it is hard to keep up with. This method of preparation makes a flavorful addition to any summer dinner.  Picking the squash when they are about 8” long is best. At that size they are not seedy, and picking them before they reach the size of baseball bats helps to keep the refrigerator from getting filled up with them. 

Slice them into cylinders about 4-5” long. Then cut them lengthwise and again to form wedges.  Slice up a couple of fresh basil leaves and crush a clove of garlic. Mix the garlic and basil in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.  Let the squash wedges marinate for a half hour or so and place on the grill.  They are done when they are tender to the fork.  For another twist, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese over the squash.

Grilled Pepper

Grilled Pepper

Peppers spice up any meal. Grilled peppers are a different twist and take only a minute to prepare for grilling. Simply wash them off and give them a light coat of olive oil to prevent burning. Place right on the grill, turning often.  They are ready when they are soft and the thin outer skin is starting to split. Peel off the outer skin and eat while warm.

Thicker skin peppers are best. I like Hungarian Yellow wax and jalapeño peppers.  If I am grilling something that takes a while to cook, I often make a few to snack on while doing my chef duties.

© 2009 - 2017 Gary C. Sutcliffe

  

  

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